Not having enough sleep can have a harmful effect on your health and well being. If you don’t get a complete, relaxing seven to eight hours of sleep, you wake up groggy and cranky, an uncomfortable feeling that takes several cups of coffee to stave off. So you were aghast when your hearing loss started to cause you to lose sleep.
Justifiably so. But there’s a little something that can help, fortunately: a hearing aid. It’s feasible that these small devices can help you get a sounder night sleep, according to the latest surveys.
How is Sleep Affected by Hearing Loss?
Recently, you’ve noticed yourself counting sheep more than normal, dealing with fatigue all day regardless of how much sleep you get, and then having a difficult time falling asleep at night (despite your exhaustion). All of these problems started around the same time you also began to notice that your radio, television, and mobile phone were becoming hard to hear.
It’s not your imagination as it turns out. There is a well-documented link between hearing loss and insomnia, even if the exact sources aren’t completely clear. There are, of course, a few theories:
- Loss of hearing is linked to depression, and depression can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that disturb your sleep cycle. Because of this, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes harder.
- As you develop hearing loss, your brain starts straining, it’s looking for stimulus from your ears where none exists. If your brain is in high gear trying to hear while you’re drifting off to sleep, your overall cycle could be thrown off (It’s the common issue of not being able to get your brain to turn off).
- You can be kept awake by tinnitus which can cause ringing, thumping, or humming sounds in your ears. (Lack of sleep can also make your tinnitus worse, which then can cause stronger insomnia, it’s a vicious cycle).
Can Hearing Aids Improve Your Sleep?
According to one study, 59% of people who were hearing aid users reported feeling content with their sleep, in comparison to a 44% satisfaction rate in people who don’t use hearing aids. So does that mean it’s safe to presume hearing assistance devices are also a kind of sleep aid?
Not exactly. If your hearing is perfectly normal, using hearing aids won’t cure your insomnia.
But if you have hearing loss related insomnia, hearing aids might help in numerous crucial ways:
- Isolation: Your less likely to feel isolated and depressed if you can hook up with people in your social circle when you’re out on the town. Hearing aids make building relationships less difficult (sleep cycle problems that result in “cabin fever” can also be decreased).
- Tinnitus: Dependent on the nature and cause of your tinnitus, hearing aids could provide a practical way of managing that ringing and buzzing. This can help you get to sleep by short circuiting that vicious cycle.
- Strain: The burden on your brain will essentially diminished by using hearing aids. And your brain will be less likely to strain while sleeping if it isn’t struggling all of the rest of the time.
Getting Better Quality Sleep With Hearing Aids
When it comes to sleep, the amount of hours is not the only factor to consider. In order for your sleep to be truly rejuvenating, it’s important that you achieve a targeted depth to your z’s. Loss of hearing can prevent that deep sleep, and hearing aids, as a result, can increase your ability to reach restful sleep.
Wearing your hearing aids on the suggested daytime schedule will enhance your sleep but it’s important to note that hearing aids aren’t normally designed to be worn at night. When you’re sleeping they aren’t going to help your hearing (you won’t be able to hear your alarm clock more clearly, for instance). And your hearing aids can definitely wear out quicker if you use them during the night. It’s wearing them during the day that helps you achieve better sleep.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is valuable. Your stress level, your immune system, and your ability to think clearly will all be helped by ample sleep. A reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease have also been connected to healthy sleep habits.
When your hearing loss begins to affect your sleep schedule, the problem becomes more than aggravating, insomnia can often become a serious health problem. Thankfully, most surveys report that people who use hearing aids have improved quality of sleep.